15 Tips and Tricks For Surviving Miami
By now, you probably know that you can bring wine and get boozy in the grass while watching a free movie with the New World Center wallcasts. And you're also likely aware that -- although it used to be easier -- a determined drunk can definitely get sloshed for free on the Second Saturday Art Walks through Wynwood. Such are the little hustles that get us through our hectic, penny-pinching lives in one of the world's weirdest cities. A few of our staffers collaborated to bring you fifteen other tips and tricks that make us feel like geniuses every time we pull them off. Hopefully, at least a few items on this list will be helpful to both Miami lifers-- don't roll your eyes smugly when we get to Laurenzo's-- and new transplants.
The whole reasons we're sharing our secrets, of course, is because we want yours. Drop some knowledge in the comments section.
1. Memorize the acronym CRAP. When you're first trying to figure out the grid system, the different types of streets get confusing. Remember CRAP (court, road, avenue, place) goes one way (north to south) and all other street designations go the other way. It comes in mighty handy, and by its nature, it's an acronym you won't forget.
2. Park like the pilots at MIA. The new express bus route from the airport to Miami Beach, with a stop at the Earlington Heights Metrorail system, is surprisingly functional. But we follow the lead of the dudes with the wings on their hats. Book long-term parking in advance at the Sheraton right outside the airport, using a booking site like this. Search for a coupon code when you make the booking. You can sometimes get it as low as $4 a day, $11 bucks cheaper than the airport's long-term parking. It's valet, with a quick shuttle to the terminals every fifteen minutes. Also, if you're flying out of Fort Lauderdale (and have the time and patience) don't be afraid to take a public bus there. You'll transfer to a Broward bus at the Aventura Mall.
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3. Sneak into Oleta River State Park without paying. This one's from our boss, which tells you what kind of outfit we're running here. Use the side entrance on Biscayne. "I've even done this in my car," says Chuck, "though I just about offed three bikers." Also, if you have suffered the injustice of paying to enter a national park -- such as Shark Valley in the Everglades -- your receipt should get you in for a week. So hit it the next weekend to maximize your dollar.
4. Free yoga. At Bayfront Park. The only hidden costs are parking -- at most $3 at the meters in front of the InterContinental Hotel -- and the fact that rabble might stare at your ass during downward dog. (So I'm told. Nobody stares at my ass.)
5. Park for free or cheap in South Beach and Downtown. In South Beach, park on the west side of Flamingo Park. In the civil courthouse/main library area near Flagler street -- I can't believe we're going to reveal this one -- free spots are always available in front of the Scottish Rites building. In the criminal courthouse/ University of Miami hospital area, park in the UM Medical School garage at 1099 Northwest 14th Street for $1 an hour.
6. Re-use your parking stubs. While we're on the topic -- and what greater hurdle is there in Miami than finding freaking parking? -- a lot of residents don't realize that your stubs are valid at spots throughout your city. If you're staying in the same municipality -- say Miami, or Miami Beach -- and still have time on a stub from a preceding parking spot, you don't have to buy another one.
7. Get free custard at Shake Shack. If you work on Lincoln Road or have a free Miami Beach INcard, you get complementary custard with a $5 purchase. The card gets you discounts for other stuff, but we wanted to get your attention.
8. Get acquainted with your town's crappy website. They often offer residence parking cards so you don't have to feed the meters. There's all sorts of free movie nights. Sunny Isles' "cultural" program is offering tickets and shuttle rides for $25 ($30 for non-residents) to the new Marlins stadium in a May game against the Mets, which means you don't have to worry about parking or driving after seven beers.
9. Go to museums for free. The Miami Art Museum is free the second Saturday of every month. The Wolfsonian is free from 6 to 9 p.m. every Friday. The Miami Children's Museum is free from three to nine pm the third Friday of every month. There's a full list here.
10. Doraku has hands-down the best happy hour. It's from 5 to 7 p.m. every day. We recommend ordering just about one of everything on the happy hour menu, plus $4 martinis or margaritas or $3 sakes or beers. This one ain't much of a secret, though, so either get there right at five or call ahead for a reservation.
11. Don't go over 37 miles per hour in the following areas. Sunny Isles, Surfside, Golden Beach, Alton next to the golf course in South Beach -- you know what, just don't speed on the beach. Also, there are often cops on motorcycles staking out Biscayne between 36th Street and around 60th Street. There, we just saved you a couple hundred dollars and points on your license.
12. Stride confidently into posh Miami hotels. Good advice for pool-hopping, emergency bathroom usage, and -- though we would never recommend this -- free continental breakfasts.
13. During Art Basel, eat Jennifer Rubell's art. Speaking of free breakfast: Last Art Basel, Rubell's exhibition consisted of serving yogurt and honey. The year before her gimmick was damn good oatmeal. Both times, baristas were on hand for free espresso drinks. Just go every damn morning next year. Don't be ashamed.
14. Buy produce Laurenzo's Farmer's Market. Like we said, longtime residents are going to call us painfully obvious for this one, but we wish we knew about Laurenzo's before spending 18 million dollars on tomatoes at Publix the first few years we were here. And go across the street to Laurenzo's Italian center for non-produce items. If you live far South, buy veggies at Robert is Here instead.
15. Score free drinks. Our wise web editor Jose Duran recommends tipping extremely well to the same bartender. "They'll start comp'ing drinks," he says. "It might not be free, it can make the difference between paying $5 tip or $15 for a drink plus tip." If even that's too pricey, tweet us and we'll let you in on any open bars we know of.
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